Privacy Management on Facebook: Do Device Type and Location of Posting Matter?

Authors: Jennifer Jiyoung Suh and Eszter Hargittai

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Citation: Suh, J. J., & Hargittai, E. (2015). Privacy Management on Facebook: Do Device Type and Location of Posting Matter?. Social Media + Society. 1(2).


People’s information sharing on Facebook often happens through mobile devices allowing for posting from different locations. Despite the potential contextual differences in content sharing, the literature on online privacy management rarely takes into consideration the type of device and the type of location from which people post content. Do these aspects of Facebook use affect how people share information online? Analyzing Facebook posts young adults shared from different devices and different locations, this article examines the effectiveness of users’ privacy management. By comparing the intended audience with the actual audience of each post, we find considerable mismatch between the two despite most participants expressing confidence in their ability to manage their information on the site. Posts that are accidentally shared with “public”—potentially anyone on the web—are more likely to be shared from non-mobile devices. Interview data reveal that this happens despite the fact that most participants consider non-mobile devices more reliable and convenient to use than mobile devices.


  • Introduction
  • Research Questions
  • Method
  • Results
  • Limitations
  • Conclusion


The authors thank Dr. Robert Hariman, Dr. Eden Litt, and two anonymous reviewers for their insightful feedback that helped improve this paper.

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